Śūnyatā — སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་

Huelo Hale 2022 - Photo: RAS

SELF-KNOWLEDGE

is not fully possible. We do not reside in a body, a

mind or a world where it is achievable or, from the

point of being interesting, even desirable. Half of

what lies in the heart and mind is potentiality, resides

in the darkness of the unspoken and unarticulated

and has not yet come into being; this hidden,

unspoken half of a person will supplant and subvert

any present understandings we have about ourselves.

Human beings are always, and always will be, a

frontier between what is known and what is not

known. The act of turning any part of the unknown

into the known is simply an invitation for an equal

measure of the unknown to flow in and re-establish

that frontier: to reassert the far inward, as yet

unknown horizon of an individual life; to make us

What we are - that is, a moving edge between what we know about ourselves and what we are about

to become. What we are actually about to become,

or are afraid of becoming, always trumps and rules

over what we think we are already . . . - David Whyte

Huelo Hale 2022 - Photo: RAS

Excellence (or perfection) in wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā — प्रज्ञापारमिता) consists in “emptiness” (Śūnyatā — སྟོང་པ་ཉིད).

It’s a matter of perspective and situation, I suppose. In any case, forms of wisdom and wisdom seeking are simply matters of habit and practice, ideals and aspirations (or the lack thereof) that manifest in actual life, the routines of everyday practical existence, starting (and ending) with breath (Prāṇāyāma — प्राणायाम — that which the Hawaiians call Hā).1 Little things, nothing extraordinary. Pay attention. Be mindful.2

There’s no “way.” No mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery.3

Different things mean differently in different contexts, of course. It’s all rather more a narrative (a story told to/by) of being and becoming (and passing away) than a systematic doctrine or teaching. One can’t learn anything one doesn’t already know anyway — to know is to understand.

And to understand presupposes wisdom — in the recognition of the Wheel of Karma (कर्म — action & causality) within and without such that begins in ignorance, suffering, dissatisfaction, doubt and misery and proceeds toward the eradication and overcoming of all attachments and desire.4

Here Śūnyatā transforms into a state of Nirvāṇa (མྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ།): Enlightenment.

I took this photo of a gardenia blossom in my garden this morning.

Huelo Hale, Paumalu 2022

1

Aloha translates as Alo (to be) — (in breath).

4

It has been noted by at least one authority that “something vital has been lost in modern Buddhism’s appropriation of traditional exercises: the anchoring of of these exercises and analyses in Buddhist transcendental truth. The ultimate aim of modernist Buddhist spiritual exercises is no longer enlightenment, release from rebirth, but advances here-and-now experiences of lessened stress, increased happiness, and so on.” Steven Collins, “Wisdom As A Way Of Life: Theravāda Buddhism Reimagined,” 2020, p. 155.